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An Expat Talks about Living in Okinawa, Japan

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Okinawa

How long have you lived there?

5 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Aikido or any other martial arts activities. SCUBA diving through a certified instructor, there are plenty on island to sort through. If you have the talent to coach kids or referee any sport activities you will enjoy that as well. All over this island coaches and referees are always needed.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Most people are very conservative. There is a sense of purity in relation to race that makes some multi-race relationships unaceptable by family members.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

There are many jobs in construction, entertainment, food service, and on the military bases as well. There is a high level of unemployment on Okinawa year round.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Most people are family oriented and very sociable. Okinawan people in general are very sociable and enjoy sports especially baseball, SUMO wrestling, martial arts and basketball.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

If you are retired military you will have an easier time especially if you speak the language. Be prepared to spend quite a bundle to set up your home. Rental deposit, utility deposit, agent's fee, and other miscellaneous charges will total at least $1000 and as much as $3500 to get you in your new home. There is only one free English Channel, AFN, and satellite television access will cost another $50-$90/monthly.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Oct 10, 2010 16:05

I am retired military and thinking of living in Okinawa, how much would I spend on a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home to buy or renting a apartment? email:

guest
Nov 26, 2010 16:10

Anybody in Oki right now who would be willing to get me a men's small t shirt from Yoshihachi sushi bar? I'll cover the cost + shipping. Email me: mgielisse [at] gmail dot com

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An expat talks about adjusting to life and working in Japan. She appreciates the kindness and generosity of strangers, but says that not being able to speak Japanese can be isolating.

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If you're moving to Japan this is a must-read article highlighting tips from expats in Japan. Topics covered include driver's licenses, healthcare in Japan, international schools and more.

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